Sunlake’s Pride and Joy!


A group photo showcasing the last Diversity club meeting to conclude the 2021-2022 school year.

Andrew McEntire, Staffer

Going on for around 8 years under a variety of titles, the school’s pride and joy (pun intended) is our very own Diversity club, or as it’s better known, the LGBTQ+ club. From a glance, the club is a fun get-together of like-minded individuals, however, most clubgoers find it to be so much more, a place where they’re amongst friends and can take a sweet break from the stresses of social expectations or domestic life. It sounds dramatic, but some members do find these to be genuine issues within their day-to-day. There are a few people who make all this magic happen with professional titles and all. They confront all the issues that arise and guide members through activities that they plan to unfold. Before getting into the grit of it, let’s meet the individuals that work behind the scenes to make this weekly assembly successful.

Diversity club Poster Manager, Tyler Hess, Senior, showing off their fashionable and timely hat. (Andrew McEntire)

Meet Tyler Hess, Senior and Poster Manager. “Hi, I’m Tyler and/or Boba. My pronouns are he/they. I’m a senior. I know I’m an old man. I work at the good ol’ Panda Express and my job in the club is to be the poster manager. I think this club is something really special. For me, I’ve been here since the day I entered high school and I plan to be here till I graduate. It’s a really important club to me because I feel like it provides a safe space for those who might not be able to get one. I’m thankful to have an accepting dad but not everyone has accepting family members or even friends.” “I think it’s important to know that no matter what your interests are whether that be Legos or MLP, an obsession with TMNT or the MCU, everyone is accepted the moment they walk in the door and are always welcomed.”

A lovely picture of, and taken by Senior and Diversity club Vice-President, Kayla Rodriguez

Now introducing Kayla Rodriguez, Senior and Vice President. “Hi, my name is Kayla Rodriguez, and I am the Vice President of the LGBTQ club. What I do is pretty simple. I make presentations and help plan out different things that the club will be doing with Alex. This club means a lot to me, ever since my freshman year, it’s been a real safe place where me and my friends can hang out and protest for stuff we believe in without having strange looks, glares, and name-calling all the time. Officially it [the club] is very much a safe space for all LGBTQ+ kids as well as a learning environment of the latest news in the gay community all the way to the history of the gay community. This club is important, especially with new laws in place, to make all kids feel safe and secure with who they are. Some have non-accepting families and we help those have another hour of freedom to be who they are without repercussions. I want the clubgoers to know that even though we are still working out bits and details, we are going to make this year great and welcoming to all. ”

The Diversity club President, Alex Rhein, Junior, graciously standing at the club’s iconic podium. (Andrew McEntire)

Finally, we meet Alex Reihn, Junior and club President. “My name is Alex Rhein and I am the current LGBTQ+ President for the 2022-2023 year! I am currently a struggling junior. My job, regarding the club, is to manage the information we provide and the activities that we do.” In a brutally honest, yet highly relatable fashion, Alex states, “I joined this club my freshman year of high school because I had no friends and was too anxious to try to make some. This club to me was a way to be social and have those key social interactions which everyone needs. I want all potential club goers to know that we do not care if you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not and that EVERYONE is welcome no matter what your opinions are.”

For the club itself, a normal session is based on a loose schedule of events; First, the students get a moment to catch up and chat before the team shows the weekly presentation to, as Alex puts it, “educate our members on topics regarding LGBTQ+ community; particularly, modern issues, history, mental health, and sometimes some fun topics that are suggested to us.” Afterward, with the time left over, the members have an opportunity to participate in ‘Tea-Time’, which is where the members gather to take turns telling 5-minute stories, sometimes heartfelt, sometimes gloomy, but most times a fun-thriving experience. Tyler shares, “Definitely a memorable moment would be from over the years the tea-time sessions.” Tyler goes on to explain, “It’s how I met some of my closest friends today and how I felt more connected with the club members.” By the end, the hour is up, and students are lovingly kicked out. When asked about future plans, the group shares exciting talk of movie nights, pride events, and holiday happenings. As a relevant example, for the meeting closely following Halloween, they plan on hosting a spooky-packed hour of tricks, but mostly treats. Moving into a more personal direction; most members mention a couple of key things about their time spent in the club, the feeling and comfort the club brings, and the rich comedy. While one Emily Witkowski, Junior, mentions how they appreciate “the diversity and humor” that the club hosts, Michael Meintzinger, sophomore, adds “it really caught my eye when I saw that there was an LGBTQ+ club last year because it wasn’t previously allowed. I really love the sense of community and the lack of judgment towards people who are different.”

As this passage comes to an end, Tyler gives this heartwarming address. “I’m not one for speeches but something I’ve stated so strongly is that no matter what is going on either at home or in class, there will always be people that accept you for who you are. And that became even more apparent to me when I joined this club freshman year. Sure, I was nervous but after a bit, it became comfortable and familiar. And now it’s a weekly thing I attend no matter what. So even if you’re feeling singled out or alone, like no one will understand you or your struggles, trust me when I say there’s a group of people that will happily take in and accept you. Flaws and all.” Finally, A very stylish, Christia Quire, a Sophomore, closes this article perfectly, “I have nothing else to add except I just love this club!”